Ask a Question forum: Elderberries and pollination

Views: 1137, Replies: 8 » Jump to the end
Name: Elizabeth
Berkshire Hills, Western Massa (Zone 5b)
elizabethtm
Mar 18, 2014 1:54 PM CST
Hi,
A few years ago we planted an elderberry bush in the yard, but we have barely seen flowers and absolutely no fruit. Do elderberries need to have additional bushes nearby for cross-pollination the way that apples, etc. do? It is also quite possible that I put the bush in a bad spot with not enough light or nutrient, but I want to know about the cross-pollination thing before I start amending the soil or moving the plant.

I live in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, zone 5b.
Thanks!!
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
Image
Horntoad
Mar 18, 2014 4:04 PM CST
Elderberries are considered partially self-fruiting, meaning they will set fruit but not abundantly. Having more than one will improve fruiting. You said yours barely flowers which would be a different problem. Having more than one elderberry shrub will not increase flower production. Elderberries do best in moist fertile loam and around here all the wild ones I have seen grow in full sun.
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Elizabeth
Berkshire Hills, Western Massa (Zone 5b)
elizabethtm
Mar 18, 2014 7:16 PM CST
Thank you, Horntoad! I think I'll try a multi-pronged remediation approach... buy a few friends, give it some love, and check out whether it needs to be moved. Thanks!
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
Mar 18, 2014 8:56 PM CST
Elderberries need sun, lots of sun. And you need two types of Elderberries to assure a good crop.
That's why the nurseries usually sell them in pairs, like one John's and one Adam's. The two types need to be within 50-60 feet of each other. They start producing a decent crop after 3 or 4 years.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Elizabeth
Berkshire Hills, Western Massa (Zone 5b)
elizabethtm
Mar 19, 2014 4:02 AM CST
Thanks, Greene! That reinforces my plan to pick up a few more bushes and look for sunny spots for them. Smiling
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
Mar 19, 2014 1:19 PM CST
I usually 'pick up' my elderberries in the wild; might be a good idea to gather several from different areas.
They are easy to transplant and very forgiving.
Our family makes a mean elderberry jam!

That being said, I would pay real money for the one with 'black' leaves; it's beautiful.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 20, 2014 8:22 PM CST
Those elderberries with the dark leaves are widely available, greene. Look online for Sambucus 'Black Beauty' or better still 'Black Lace' that has leaves very much like a Japanese maple.

My daughter had several of them in her garden in Salt Lake, and they also start easily from cuttings. We had no idea the berries were edible, and the birds didn't go after them either, surprisingly.

Curiously, her big shrubs of 'Black Beauty' bloomed and fruited very well in partial shade on the north side of their house. Didn't need to be cross-pollinated either.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
Mar 20, 2014 9:04 PM CST
Let's not assume your daughter's plant was not cross-pollinated just because she didn't have another similar plant on her property. There could be any number of similar plants 'as the bees fly'. Besides, each plant is partially self-fruiting, as @Horntoad mentioned and will make fruit; with cross-pollination the plant produces an abundant crop.

Please, let's not call the berries 'edible' because some people who read this may decide to pop a handful of fresh berries into their mouth. The berries must be cooked in order to be safe to eat.

Thanks @dyzzypyxxy but I don't want to look online for plants. I prefer to look on the road side, in the field, over the fence, at local swaps, places like that where things are free or freely shared by others.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 20, 2014 9:29 PM CST
Hey! @greene Hilarious! you said up above that you'd "pay real money for the one with 'black' leaves; it's beautiful."

But seriously, just keep an eye out for someone with a nice big bush, and see if they'll give you a cutting. We had no trouble rooting them in Salt Lake even with the dry, dry air. My daughter moved away from that house last fall, or I'd be able to offer you cuttings from there. Hers were 10ft. tall every fall no matter how we hacked them down in the spring. Very vigorous.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by Baja_Costero and is called "Agave"